Excerpt from untitled contribution to BlackPast.org by Turkya Lowe
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Charlotte L. Brown was the plaintiff in one of the most important early California civil rights campaigns. On April 17, 1863, Brown was forcibly removed from a horse-drawn streetcar in San Francisco. Her father, who ran a livery stable in San Francisco, brought suit on her behalf against the Omnibus Railroad Company. The successful suit resulted in $5,000 in damages awarded as well as the right of blacks to ride the street cars. The Charlotte Brown case was one of a few civil rights cases brought by prominent free blacks in California to protest discrimination on public transportation. Ms. Brown later married prominent free black civil rights activist, James Riker.
Charlotte L. Brown et al case (San Francisco: California Historical Society, 1866). Delilah L. Beasley, The Negro Trail Blazers of California (Los Angeles: Times Mirror Publishing and Binding House, 1919), p. 65. Marc Primus, ed. Monographs of Blacks in the West: Number 1, Manuscript Series (San Francisco: San Francisco African American Historical and Cultural Society, Inc., 1976), pp. 120-21
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